Devils River State Natural Area
Guide

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Introduction

Imagine yourself listening to the roar of a river, staring up at a beautiful night sky, free of anything except stars. There are few other people around, but the sights and sounds of nature envelop you. You have arrived at Devil's River State Natural Area.

The highlight of this area is the Devil's River itself. The pure and intact river system is relatively unspoiled by human interaction. Underground springs feed the river and plants and animals thrive in this habitat.

This area is rich in history, with rock shelters that show pictographs dating back to 3,000 BCE. Explorers will also find fossils and artifacts in the vicinity. Before this land was purchased by Texas State Parks, it was used as a large working ranch.

While this park's remote location keeps it preserved well, it is also a disadvantage. RVs and trailers are not recommended on the gravel road that leads back to the primitive campground. There are no electrical hookups and no facilities. If camping here, you'll need to bring everything you need with you, and be prepared to pack everything out. If you don't mind roughing it, this location will reward you with its beauty during RV road trip in Texas.

RV Rentals in Devils River State Natural Area

Transportation in Devils River State Natural Area

Driving

Devil's River State Natural Area is accessed by Dolan Creek Rd, a rough gravel surface road for 22 miles. Four-wheel drive is recommended. Use caution and ensure that your tires are in good shape before driving on this road.

Due to the rough roads and primitive nature of the campsites you should be cautious when driving and camping here, especially if you are in an RV, campervan, or trailer. The rustic sites are spacious, but the rough access road will limit trailers.

Keep in mind that Devil's River State Natural Area is located in a remote part of the state. Since the nearest full-service gas station is 65 miles away, plan carefully and fuel up before arriving. You can pretty much assume you won't be getting any cell phone or wi-fi signal here either. While that is the beauty of this park- that you can truly get away from it all- it also means you'll want to make sure you have all the food and supplies you need stocked in the motorhome before you head out towards the park.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Devils River State Natural Area

Campsites in Devils River State Natural Area

Reservations camping

Primitive Drive-Up Campsites

There are seven primitive campsites available at Devils River State Natural Area. Motorhomes and trailers are permitted to camp here, however, please note that the access road is very rough.

These are primitive campsites, so there is no water, electricity, or restrooms. Be sure to plan accordingly and make sure you have enough food, water, and supplies before you arrive. You must pack out all of your own trash and human waste.

If you're okay with the remoteness of your campsite, you can really enjoy a chance to get away from it all. You can enjoy serene lunches at the picnic table or roast marshmallows around the fire ring right at your campsite. Plus, there is a shade shelter provided to offer some protection against that unforgiving Texan sun. Reservations at least one day in advance are required.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Group Camping/Barracks

This campground has a bunkhouse area that can accommodate groups. Each barrack can sleep up to 10 people. There is no kitchen at the barrack, but you can bring your own campstove and cook on the porch. There is an ADA-accessible bathroom adjoined to the barracks with a shower, toilet, and sink. These barracks must be reserved online and paid for at least one day in advance.

Paddler Camps

Devil's River Natural State Area maintains four different camps right along the river for paddlers looking to stay for the night during multi-day river trips.

There are campgrounds at Mile 12, 15, 20 and 29. Campers may only stay for one night at these campsites and must pack everything out that they bring in. No bathrooms are located nearby and the top soil is very shallow.

Seasonal activities in Devils River State Natural Area

In-Season

Fishing

Devil's River is a serene, undisturbed destination for avid anglers. There are several rare and protected fish species in the river. Common fish found here include catfish, large and smallmouth bass, several varieties of sunfish, and spotted gar. A current fishing license with the proper endorsement for freshwater fishing from the state of Texas is required to take fish out of public waters.

Swimming

There is an area for swimming about one mile from the campground right on the shores of the river.

The waters of the Devil's River are clear and relatively unspoiled. They are supplied by underground springs and are have limited public access. The ecosystem and wildlife in this habitat are intact.

If you're planning to swim at the river, just be sure to check with the park rangers about any flash flood warnings before you go in.

Paddling

The Devil's River is a treacherous beauty. There are many rewards for paddling this river. The waters are deep blue with breathtaking wilderness to observe. However, there are dangers too, as this river contains rapids, Dolan Falls, and potential flash floods. If you are interested in paddling this river, first contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to acquire a permit and stay up to date on all regulations.

If you want to experience the raw beauty of this river, some outfitters can help you put together different types of paddle trips. From renting a boat and doing it yourself, or joining a guided tour, we recommend using an outfitting company to help design your river experience.

For paddlers who start their trip further up the Devil's River, they can make a stop here at one of four different paddler camps along the river for one night.

Off-Season

Stargazing

Because of the remote location of this park, the night skies are free from light pollution. This makes for excellent stargazing opportunities.

Devil's River State Natural Area's rating on the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale is a 2 (with a 1 being the darkest skies on earth). Check with astronomical calendars and plan ahead for unparalleled night sky viewing at Devil's River State Natural Area.

Birding

Due to the intact biodiversity of the Devil's River, this park is a bird lover's paradise. Many rare birds, migrating butterflies, and bats make homes here.

The best places to see bird nests are along the edge of the river. Look in the stands of a tree, grasslands on the ridges, and around the natural springs.

Bird viewed here includes Black-capped Vireo, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-throated Sparrow, and Greater Roadrunner.

Hiking

There is one 12-mile trail, rated difficult in this State Nature Area. This trail is also used for mountain biking and is accessible year-round. In addition to this longer trail, the trail from the campground down to the river is a respectable one-mile stretch.

In the area, you can explore caves and discover fossils and other archaeological sights. The evidence suggests that diverse people groups from the East and West met at Devil's River. They left behind Lower Pecos Style rock art and other artifacts.

Please enjoy looking at these treasures but leave them the way they are. It is illegal to collect fossils from this area that's protected by the state.

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